The new UAE domestic worker law will result in workers also being required to present evidence of their fitness and professional competence for the job.
The changes, that come into effect on December 15, were announced this week by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
The Ministry said a “comprehensive legal framework” is being developed, with specific penalties set out.
New UAE domestic worker law penalties
- Fines of between Dhs20,000 and Dhs100,000 and up to six months in prison for those who provide false information or fake documents to employ domestic helpers.
- Fines of a minimum of Dhs50,000 and a maximum of Dhs200,000 for people who hire unlicensed workers, recruit staff but do not provide a job, or use permits for domestic workers for purposes other than those for which they were issued.
- Fines of a minimum of Dhs50,000 and a maximum of Dhs200,000 for those who close recruitment agency operations without settling wages owed to domestic workers.
- Fines of up to Dhs200,000 for those who employ a worker under the age of 18 or assist a worker to abscond or shelter absconding workers with an aim to exploit them in illegal activities.
- Fines of between Dhs200,000 and Dhs1million and jail time of up to one year can be imposed for attempting to employ a worker, on a full-time or temporary basis, without a permit and misusing login credentials for the ministry’s online portal.
- A maximum Dhs10million fine can be imposed if a person employs unlicensed workers, with increases added depending on the number of workers involved.
- Penalties will be doubled for repeat offenders.
The new UAE domestic worker law will impact Dubai
Why is it being introduced?
The new law is intended to help ensure all parties involved in an employment contract have their rights protected.
Recruitment offices will be banned from accepting a commission for obtaining work, whether directly or through third parties.
They will also be barred from incurring expenses from domestic helpers.
Once the rules are in place, domestic helpers must be provided with a booklet that details their wages and recruitment agents are obliged to make sure they are treated well.
If a domestic worker decides to return to their home country, the agent must cover their travel costs.
In such an event the agent must also provide a substitute helper or refund the amount paid by the employer.
The Ministry said it is keen to “regulate the recruitment and employment of domestic helpers in line with international best practices” and aims to “reduce labour disputes and enhance the UAE’s competitiveness”.